11 October 2010

On Parenting a Photographer

"I take a very practical view of raising children. I put a sign in each of their rooms: Checkout Time is 18 years."  ~ Erma Bombeck

"A child, like your stomach, doesn't need all you can afford to give it." ~ Frank A. Clark

"My mother protected me from the world and my father threatened me with it." ~ Quintin Crisp

"If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent." ~ Bette Davis

"Love well, whip well." ~ Benjamin Franklin

I had to apologize to my grown-up daughter this past week. Sometimes its not as easy a thing to remember that she's not a little girl anymore. There are still a few things I'm going to put my foot down for, but for the most part, I still understand that she's got to make her own mistakes. In those areas, I try to back off. She's got her own life to live. She's got her own decisions to make. She's got her own family to take care of as she and her husband feel is best. There's a good side and a bad side to that though. I'll let her make the call on decisions in her life now (most times). She's an adult. Even when I know she's not making the best choice, its still her's to make. At the same time, I'm also going to let her stand on her own two feet and buy her own friggin' CAMERA!

Yeah, little Miss Pretty is now in school for photography. I didn't find out about it til she'd already enrolled. I wasn't exactly all that pleased at the idea. I already know this isn't such an easy thing to do. Its expensive as hell if you want to be good at it and earn a living from it. But I want to still respect her and give in to the fact that she's her own person now. That's what she's telling me. She's well into her first month of school and reality has set in fairly well. I'm giving her respect by letting her stand on her own two feet. AND I'm going to further show her respect by letting her pay for it all. Sure, I loaned her a camera. I'm not a parental beast...but the operative word is LOAN. It starts with an "L", that makes a *Lah* sound. Granted, it may sound like OWN, but it is not. It is "LAH- oan". Now she's realizing all the other cost factors involved...like LENSES. I let her use my 50mm 1.8 and it was all good at first. But now, guess who's the only one in the class that doesn't have a zoom! And lets not forget this school requires a Mac laptop. Yeah, it just keeps adding up. Ha! Its so precious. Much better than an "I told you so." (is that mean?)

I had to apologize, because I recognized I was wrong for sort of snapping at her for calling me in the middle of her homework assignment to ask about camera operations. Now for me, I would have read the manual thoroughly before I had a gig to do. I would have familiarized myself with the basic functions. I don't expect her to know everything. I don't know everything about my camera, but I do know the main stuff that I use on a regular basis. Everything else, I keep the book handy. So I may have chastised her just a little, but only to emphasis how important it is to be prepared. Soon afterwards, I realized that I went about it the wrong way. I don't want her to NOT call me up when she needs help. If your dad's a photog you should be able to call for help, you would think. I want her to stand on her own two feet...yes, but a little helping hand isn't a bad thing. Besides, its cool when you can talk photo with your kid. The other day she called me up while she was driving home and she was telling me about how she can't look out her window without seeing elements of the scenery as exposures and how she might correct or adjust the camera to compensate. All I could say was, "Welcome to my world." I don't look at exposures so much as I do compositions. Every where I go and everything I look at, I'm composing. One thing I can say I'm sort of jealous for her about is the fact that she's picked up  photo at the time her own little daughter is born. These are her shots of my Grand-kid.

I don't know how many of you liked the "Wizard of Oz", but this animated parody if funny!


Karl said...

I had to chuckle at your quotes. My dad told me his dad gave him a suit and a suitcase for high school graduation gifts. That is a pretty strong message.

I think you are handling it as best as you can. She needs to learn the hard stuff so she can truly appreciate the amazing art we live in. On the other hand, a gentle bit of guidance helps too. I am not a parent, so I wont judge you at all. I am thrilled though that she is starting to get it.

I remember after taking my first black and white photography class in 1989, I saw the world differently. I could imagine what things looked like in that form. My mind changed on how I saw things. Like you, it is not part of my permanent life.

Good luck to you and her. I'm sure you two will have bumps along the way, but there is love holding it together.

Photo Anthems.com said...

Yes, it is now a part of my permanent life. I'm assuming you meant NOW and not NOT. I thought long and hard on whether or not I wanted to GIVE her my 40D or just loan it to her. I was about 30% selfish in that I want my equipment back and 70%, she needs to buy her own camera because she'll respect it more. That may change if I can get my 5DMII sooner than I initially wish to, but in truth, I don't like giving up cameras. I'm sure she'll know after this semester whether or not this is for her or not. Its not easy with a new baby, a new family, and expenses out the wazoo. I told my son in law to be careful. When she starts choosing a new lens over diapers, its time to reel her in!

unbearable lightness said...

You have just about the cutest grand-kid I've seen in a very long time, and Cassie Neasley-Hall is showing her dad's talent, especially in that last image. Awesome!!!

Joanie said...

Cassie will appreciate all the help/insight you share with her and you'll enjoy taking this journey with her.

LOAN is not a bad word. In fact, this loan is actually a very generous gift. You've given her the opportunity to try a camera and when she's ready to make the investment, she'll know if that's the route she wants to go.

Kind of cool that you two will have so much more to explore together now.